Elon Musk has now offered to help Puerto Rico out, possibly by deploying solar power around the island. Puerto Rico is ideally situated for solar power in many respects. It’s relatively close to the equator-closer than any location in the continental United States-and it enjoys high amounts of sunshine for most of the year.
China has said it will eventually ban gasoline-powered cars. California may be moving in the same direction. That pressure has set off a scramble by the world’s car companies to embrace electric vehicles. On Monday, General Motors, America’s largest automaker, staked its claim to leadership. Outlining a fundamental shift in its vision of the industry, it announced plans for 20 new all-electric models by 2023, including two within the next 18 months.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry and the nominee to head the Energy Department’s electricity office both see potential for U.S. national lab-engineered electricity innovations to rebuild Puerto Rico’s hurricane-shattered grid. The U.S. territory could be a testing ground for new electricity-delivery technologies from the national laboratories, Energy nominee Bruce Walker told Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee members Sept. 26.
While domestic deployments of solar have grown nearly eightfold in the past five years, U.S. manufacturing has fallen behind. Previous trade cases were intended to stabilize pricing and result in new U.S. module capacity. But domestic production still hasn’t kept pace with deployments. We estimate that 87 percent of U.S. solar installations in 2016 used foreign-produced panels.
The price of electricity generated by utility-scale solar photovoltaic systems fell to $0.06 per kilowatt hour this year, achieving a 2020 goal of the SunShot program three years early. Prices for residential and commercial systems are 86 percent and 89 percent toward achieving their price goals, the Energy Department reported.
Two new reports show customer-sited energy storage is one of America’s fastest-growing energy technologies, with record-breaking installations in the second quarter of 2017. Energy storage could soon become a standard offering for U.S. utilities looking to diversify their business models and improve grid resiliency in the face of increasing extreme storms like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Refiners across Asia are cranking up output to send fuel to the United States, where fallout from Hurricane Harvey has left around a quarter of the nation's refineries shut down. Attracted by soaring refining margins, known as crack spreads in the industry, Asian fuel makers from Singapore to South Korea have ramped up operating rates to sell as many cargoes as possible to the United States.
However, while the report shows that the state is doing very well in some areas, it also notes that reductions in greenhouse gases have stalled, falling just 0.34 percent between 2014 and 2015. And those numbers have been leveling out for the last few years.
It’s been a summer of good energy news for American consumers: Memorial Day gas prices averaging $2.36 and Independence Day gas prices at 12-year lows. Americans have been hitting the road in record numbers, reaping the benefits of the U.S. energy revolution. Just in time for Labor Day, a new report keeps the good news coming, confirming that the U.S. natural gas and oil industry is a blockbuster job creator.
DOE’s mission is critical to the nation’s security and prosperity, and includes managing the nation’s arsenal of nuclear weapons and reducing nuclear proliferation, coordinating the nation’s federal energy policy and functions, providing early-stage research and development for new technology, and helping key technologies overcome the “valley of death”--the gap between initial demonstration and commercialization--to help advance key industries.